Making the most of getting together with friends.

Going Solo

 Here are 4 easy and imaginative ways flower fanciers have interpreted the fashionable one-bloom-per-container idea.

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CREATIVE SOLUTIONS | When it comes to indoor arrangements, of course we love the look of an armful of random cottage garden flowers tumbling loosely out of a vase. But we also love the opposite: a single flower displayed creatively on its own. Read more

Granita

Slushies For The Grownups

This summer we plan to spend long, languid evenings on the patio indulging in our favourite semi-frozen dessert.

Granita

 

EASY & AWESOME | While the soul-satisfying creaminess of ice cream makes it a great comfort treat any time of the year, coarse and crystalline granita is the more refreshing, energizing ice dessert for long, hot summer days.

Granita, a granulated ice dish with Italian and Middle Eastern roots (click here for The Atlantic backgrounder), is concocted from just three ingredients: fresh fruit, sugar and water. It could not be simpler to make. Read more

guacamole iStock

An Appetite For Easy: One Minute Guacamole

Here’s a recipe for the best guacamole you’ll ever scoop on a chip: it’s fresh, seriously delicious and you can make it in a minute.

guacamole iStock

 

ONE-MINUTE WONDER | It’s a holiday today in British Columbia and we are having friends over for a dinner, which means I’m going to need appies: lots of them. I can get away with serving strictly store-bought stuff—cerignola olives, edemame in the shell, gourmet potato chips—if I serve it in small, one-of-a-kind containers that give it an air of exclusivity. But store-bought alone feels ungracious to me so I like to mix in a few homemade or half-scratch appies I can turn around on a dime. One of my all-time half-scratch favourites is cheater guacamole. I’m always surprised by how many people ask me for the recipe. Read more

Blue Velvet Cake- Bettey Crocker

Baby Cakes: Hosting A Gender Reveal Party

Here’s a fun and memorable way expectant parents are revealing the gender of their baby.

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SNEAK PEEK  | Our daughter Alexis got married last spring, and now she and her husband Dave (pictured here on their wedding day) are expecting a baby. Last week, they went for their 20-week ultrasound. This imaging technique is used five months into a pregnancy to determine whether a fetus is developing normally. At 20 weeks, it can also detect whether the baby is a boy or a girl—if the gender is visible, of course.

Lexi and Dave wanted to know the sex of their baby. And they wanted to share the experience of finding out what it is with members of their immediate family, so this past weekend we had what’s called a gender reveal party at our house.

Here’s what Lexi and Dave did to ensure the baby’s gender was kept under wraps (and unknown even to them) until the appropriate moment.

Read more

Whole Foods Wedding Cake - Wonderlust Photography

Alternatives To The Multitier Wedding Cake

 Instead of a single—and expensive—multitier wedding cake, some couples are serving up something different.

Whole Foods Wedding Cake - Wonderlust Photography

 

TREND ALERT | Traditional multitiered wedding cakes are expensive. Top Vancouver pastry chef Peter Fong of Ganache Patisserie charges on average $9 per guest for his wedding confections, while Sweet Thea, former pastry chef at some of B.C.’s very best restaurants, charges between $5 and $6 for hers. There’s no doubt that both of these talented cake makers make cakes that look and taste exquisite, but with so many other expenses plus guests to wine and dine, is it really necessary to spend between $600 and $1,000 (for an estimated 100 plus guests) for a delicious, eye-catching wedding cake? Read more

Glimma-tealights- IKEA

Which Tea Lights Burn Longest? Read This.

When using tea lights to illuminate a special event, you need to know exactly how long they will burn. Here’s what we discovered.

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BUY RIGHT | One thing I know for sure about tea lights is that the burn time listed on the package never lives up to its promise. I have only my own experience to back up this claim, but over the past few weeks, I have been testing tea light burn times for an upcoming wedding reception, and, without exception, every wee candle came up at least one hour short. It may be possible for tea lights to burn for as long as the manufacturers contend, though I can only imagine that to do so, they would need to be in a place where the air is still. Read more

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Our 5 Favourite Multi-Tiered Cake Stands

Multi-stack cake stands are not just for Afternoon Tea anymore. Here are five of our favourite ways to display your treats at the table.

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SHOP THIS | The multi-tiered treat stand is stacking up to be the must-have piece of serveware in 2013, and for good reason: it’s both a practical and a striking way to display nibblies of every sort. Here are the five double- and triple-tiered serving dishes we’d press into service right now. —eds Read more

Purevege.com

How To Decorate Cakes With Real Flowers

Make me a simple, unaffected cake (or three) decorated with nature’s own ornamentation.

Purevege.com

 

EASY & AWESOME | In food TV land, cake decorating has been out of control since 2006 when “Ace of Cakes” débuted on the Food Network. The runaway success of this reality program inspired legions of pastry chefs and bakers across North America to seek TV fame by constructing crazy, teetering cakes—the more outrageous the better—on shows such as “Cake Boss,” “Wedding Cake Wars” and “Ultimate Cake Off.”

All of this excess is enough to make anyone pine for plain cake, simply iced and decorated naturally with real wildflowers and herbs. Here are three of our favourite cakes topped in this beautiful, natural way. Read more

Spiral Ham shutterstock

Why Not Do Spiral Ham This Holiday Season

One alternative to the turkey is “going spiral” this holiday season.

Spiral Ham shutterstock

 

EASY & DELISH | So many people I know are casting around for an alternative to turkey for Christmas dinner this year. Turkey for Thanksgiving is immutable, but for Christmas people are experimenting with goose, duck, pork or beef to get away from the same-old gobble-gobble. Read more